There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not broken. You haven’t failed. You are enough, exactly as you are right now.
We live in a world that is constantly telling us that something is wrong with the way we think, feel, act, and look. This is the world we were born into and grew up in. And unfortunately, this same world is what our kids are expected to survive in every day.
What kind of a relationship does your child have with their body? If they’re young, hopefully it’s still a positive one… According to Alissa Rumsey, “the majority of kids are more afraid of being fat than they are of cancer, war, or their parents dying.”
The best way to inspire your child to have a positive relationship with their body is to model a positive relationship with YOUR body.
Praise their body, and yours, for what they can do (not how they look). Remind them, and yourself, that all bodies are good bodies! Take turns sharing examples of body gratitude: arms to hug, eyes to see butterflies, ears to hear music, laps to cuddle, etc.
Move their body, and yours, in ways that are fun. Encourage them, and yourself, to notice how their body feels while they work and play. Does running make you feel fast? Does lifting something heavy make you feel strong? Joyful movement is an opportunity to celebrate bodies, not punish them!
Nourish their body, and yours, with a variety of foods. Eat with them (aka. stop making special “mommy meals” that are different than what you serve your family)! If they see you counting calories they will start to worry about eating too much. If they hear you judge food as good or bad they will start to worry about what their food preferences say about them. Food is all about connection, so find ways to enjoy rather than avoid eating.
Whether you realize it or not, you‘re already in a relationship with your body. What kind of relationship is it, what would you like it to be, and how does it affect your other relationships? Because I promise, your littles will remember your infamous cannonballs over your poolside cellulite. They’ll grow up with fond memories of cake decorating instead of diet hopping. And perhaps most importantly, a positive relationship with your body will become THEIR legacy.
Your body doesn’t need to change, your worldview does. As my friend Julie Newbry once said, “when you’re focused on your shape, you can’t shape the world.” What kind of world would be possible if all bodies were good bodies? What kind of world do you want to live in? What kind of world do you want to help co-create with the youth in your life?
I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not broken. You haven’t failed. You are enough, exactly as you are right now.